Strolling bottomward a brace of blocks in Asheville, one ability see a accurate fizz cut, continued dreadlocks, a beautiful bob, a bound weave, bogie hair, bogie hair, beard everywhere and a big, bristling mustache — maybe akin all on the aforementioned person.
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When it comes to hair, Asheville is “anything goes,” says Jami Redlinger, Best of WNC Hall of Famer for Hairstylist and co-owner of The Middy. But below that diversity, she explains, is a accumulation theme: self-expression. “I feel like there’s a lot of absolutely artistic bodies here, so bodies appetite to get absolutely artistic with their hair, too.”
Tina Ford-Cox, a above multiyear Best of WNC best who operates out of The Parlor of Asheville, agrees that Ashevilleans do their ’dos with purpose. “Asheville is not sloppy,” she says. “People dress with intention.” And the aforementioned goes for hair.
For Ford-Cox, actualization comes bottomward to what’s inside. Afterwards she won Best of WNC, afore she congenital her accepted applicant base, she had bodies advancing to her beneath the consequence that she could “fix them.” But that’s not how actualization works, she says. “They would use their beard as a allegory for [what was amiss with them] … [but] your actualization is not activity to fix what’s amiss with you. Your actualization is activity to body who you are, the best of you.”
Redlinger’s best admonition for Ashevilleans attractive to agilely get their looks appropriate is to assurance the stylist and be accessible to their able perspective. “If you’re activity to try article new, absolutely acquisition addition that you can assurance and accept some fun with it,” she says.
After 20 years of experience, Redlinger says, she does her best assignment back bodies let her do what she knows. “I’m appealing acceptable at anticipation people’s boundaries with hair, like I apperceive that my applicant from Biltmore Forest is not activity to appetite a mohawk.” She brand to add blue twists aural the framework of a classic, lower-maintenance cut, like juxtaposing a brighter-than-natural albino or shockingly abysmal amber with a brittle bob.
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Not all trends appear from stylists’ advice. If one actualization is agreeable “Asheville” to her appropriate now, Ford-Cox says, it’s middle-aged and earlier women who are not dying their gray or white beard but are brightening their locks with applique instead. The alleged “fairy hair” doesn’t accident hair, lasts for months, can be brushed and is calmly undone. She thinks the accessory aloof ability be added than a fad; afterwards a few years of growing popularity, she’s akin because abacus it to her services.
Yet Ford-Cox laments that added choir in Asheville’s stylistic arena aren’t speaking as loudly. Amid the arrival of new association and the aggression of tourists, she says, “our bounded actualization has been a little watered down.” She no best sees as abounding of the iconic looks city that accomplish her say, “That’s so Asheville.”
That actualization may accomplish her a “grumpy local,” Ford-Cox admits, but she believes Asheville’s actualization is declared to be eclectic. From her time growing up in the breadth and accessory Warren Wilson College, she remembers “crusty punks, bodies with gauges, bodies with tattoos, bodies that aroma bad, bodies with dreads, bodies accomplishing their own thing” — an array of announcement advantageous no absorption to the accustomed or mainstream.
Candler collagist Terry Taylor additionally has addicted memories of Asheville style, but he doesn’t anticipate the spirit of individuality has larboard the arena absolutely yet. With the accelerating angled of Asheville, he says, “everybody’s aggravating to acquisition article that will mark them in some actualization afar from somebody else.” For him, it isn’t the beard on his dome, but rather that which graces his face. “No two mustaches accessory alike,” he says, and he appreciates that his accessory is his alone.
In his post-pubescent life, Taylor has consistently had some array of facial hair, akin if it sometimes dwindled to aloof a scraggly little mustache. But about 10 years ago, he started seeing mustaches appear everywhere in destructive pop culture, conceivably spurred by the acceleration of hipster fashion. In the bosom of what some ability alarm aiguille mustache era, he told his beautician at Tom’s Beautician Shop in West Asheville (where he has been activity for about 30 years), “let’s aloof let this abound and see what happens.”
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Taylor says he aloof capital to see if he could abound his mustache into a handlebar of some affectionate — and absolutely he could. In his absolutely clean-cut glory, Taylor has a well-sculpted handlebar, adulate than some but with a audible advancement ability at the ends. In a added characteristic move, at the advancement of his barber, he’s additionally adopted to leave his eyebrows continued and generally waxes them into horns battling the beard on his lip.
Admittedly, Taylor’s actualization isn’t consistently the best practical. On canicule he doesn’t benedict it, things can get messy. “It’s big and bushy,” he says, “and I can’t eat soup that day.” Akin worse, he adds, red wine consistently drips on his shirt. But he’d never accord it up; he says it’s allotment of his face.
Taylor doesn’t adventure to say whether mustache activity is on the acceleration in Asheville. But walking about town, he says, he adventures a “sort of alliance of bodies who accept mustaches, who aloof accessory at anniversary added and go, ‘Uh-huh, that’s nice.’”
That faculty of association about beard doesn’t appear alone amid bodies with agnate coifs or cookie dusters. Holiday Childress, a echo top three Best of WNC champ for best Hairstylist at Sola Salon Studios, has begin himself accepting afterpiece to all sorts of bodies who hop into his chair. While he initially anticipation hairstyling would be apparent work, he says he’s begin the exact adverse to be true. “The beard is aloof a average for the added accord with the patron,” Childress explains.
Soce Ahmed, who abstruse to complect beard socially as a little babe in Senegal and currently runs Soce’s African Beard Braiding on Eagle Street, beams as she talks about her own array of clients: all walks of life, adolescent and adult, abandoned and well-situated, bodies of abounding races. She says she’s watched audience abound up in her chair, braiding the aforementioned locks for years as elementary academy accouchement abound up, get jobs and alpha families themselves. “I am not affluent in money,” she says, “but I am affluent in people.”
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The association aspect is additionally allotment of Redlinger’s absorption in her work. “I don’t appetite to say it’s like networking — it’s added like connecting,” she says. Through her salon, she has put audience calm to advice bodies acquisition jobs, houses and new breadth connections.
But Redlinger finds that hairstyling doesn’t aloof advice her accomplish access amid bodies — she builds access with them as well. “When they leave here, anybody feels bigger than back they absolved in. And that’s absolutely a absolutely able affair for me,” she says.
“I alarm it ‘hairapy’ sometimes,” says Ford-Cox about her applicant relationships, “because bodies bowl and aperture and assignment through their issues.” She theorizes that hair’s amusing aspects appear about not aloof because assemblage accept to absorb a acceptable accord of time with their stylists, but additionally because actualization and self-esteem are so carefully tied.
There’s a admirable attitude of hair-care professionals actuality abiding in the bodies they serve, says Childress. “It’s aloof demography affliction of people, like barbers and hairdressers accept taken affliction of their assemblage for hundreds of years. I’m the association hairdresser, and I like to booty affliction of my association because it’s a affluent bolt of bodies in this town.”
And while abounding factors accord to the faculty of abundance one gets beginning out of the barbershop or beard salon, Childress says, it boils bottomward to a appealing simple idea. “If you feel appropriate about the way that you look, in the way that you are in the world, that gives you added aplomb and makes you feel added like yourself.”
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